Official Newspaper of Eddy County since 1883

Articles written by Nick Simonson


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  • Our Outdoors: Weighty matters

    Nick Simonson|Jun 12, 2023

    I crossed the finish line inside the Fargodome a few weeks back at the start of the first nice day this non-winter season conveniently had offered up and checked the exercise app on my watch which was tracking my effort. It read 1:41:33 as I clicked the End button on the display. If correct, I bested my half marathon time by over four minutes. The next day I checked the official results on my phone and it displayed a time of 1:41:26 which worked out to a pace of 7 minutes, 45 seconds per mile;... Full story

  • Our Outdoors: April 24, 2023

    Nick Simonson|Apr 24, 2023

    Stocked trout springboard Spring brings with it a change in the air, and where rain begins to pour down to bring those May flowers out on the landscape and fill the banks of streams, ponds and lakes with a recharge of something other than snow, so too come other additions to those waters. Stocked trout are placed by state fish and wildlife agencies this time of year to add to the angling variety found throughout the upper Midwest, and while many rainbows, browns and other species of trout are...

  • Our Outdoors: Spring bearings

    Nick Simonson|Apr 17, 2023

    A full 30 inches of snow drift lined the banks of the small creek just down the road from the cabin in drifts that clung to and overhung its edges. Under the heating sun of mid-morning, however, they had already begun to add to it from the white extensions dripping meltwater, making perfect circles on the creek’s flowing surface with each droplet. Hoping to grab a photo of the half dozen just-returned mallard ducks that had been milling about in its waters the day before, or the two swans t...

  • Our Outdoors: Spring simplicity

    Nick Simonson|Mar 27, 2023

    A twisting garden worm on a gold Aberdeen hook under a split shot just a couple feet below a red-and-white bobber; that’s how most of us start fishing and certainly how it began for me. The setup – and it feels like that term makes it seem all too complex, as if it were somehow part of an intricate angling method – caught perch and bluegills from the dock, swarms of bullheads from the grassy banks of the river and the occasional largemouth bass from the old farm pond throughout my child...

  • Our Outdoors: A year of lessons

    Nick Simonson|Jan 2, 2023

    The lessons learned coming out of the drought in 2022, where a wet spring spurred regrowth of upland grasses and the thickening of the cattail sloughs which remained on the landscape, are many. Foremost among them came with the pleasant surprise of many upland hunters who found higher numbers of pheasants in their favorite stomping areas where good cover and loafing grasses reestablished over the summer months following the vernal soaking. While in the moment, the teachings of nature may be...

  • Our Outdoors: Turn it Up for Late Season Pheasants

    Nick Simonson|Dec 12, 2022

    Late season pheasant hunting is by far my favorite. The throngs of people have disappeared from the landscape as colder, snowier, and windier conditions generally keep the fair weather uplanders inside watching football on the weekends. Access to places both public and private – with the demands of deer season now subsided – is far more open and landowners are often welcoming once their tags are punched, and the holidays are upon us. Taking the time to introduce yourself and explore those rel...

  • Four Gifts for the Youth Trapshooter

    Nick Simonson|Dec 12, 2022

    While the spring trap shooting season – be it organized through the North Dakota State High School Clay Target League ("ND CTL" at ndclaytarget.com) – or via a local shooting sports club, may be a few months off, those avid young shotgunners are already chomping at the bit for more competition and excitement behind the trap house. With high school leagues starting in March this year, it really won't be too long until those seasons start, and the holidays are the right time to help an avid tra...

  • Our Outdoors: New Ceilings

    Nick Simonson|Dec 5, 2022

    While shooting the breeze in between rounds of trap this fall, one shooter explained his use of livescope sonar under the ice last season to pick off schools of perch on a favorite water we both shared throughout much of our winter fishing time. He'd simply drill the holes, drop the transducer, spin it around and find the pods of roving perch in the basin. Then he'd move in the general direction of the school, punch another hole, and catch a handful before they moved on, repeating the process...

  • Invest in Ice Cleats

    Nick Simonson|Dec 5, 2022

    I remember the early morning mental image as clear as the ringing in my head that followed. Walking over to pick up the auger from the last in my line of ice holes, I was suddenly staring at my boots pointing skyward and felt the impact along my shoulders and the back of my head against the hard surface of the frozen lake. The flash in my field of vision that followed with the pain and dizziness suggested a concussion, and the rest of the day on the ice was a blur. Young and invincible I waived...

  • Our Outdoors: Sudden Shift

    Nick Simonson|Nov 28, 2022

    It's strange how one day in November, you can be staring out at a beige and brown field, watching deer move back and forth, going about their annual chase in an effort to beget the next generation; and then the next day, staring silently as drifts and drifts of white grow in the front yard, pinning you indoors until the first plows make their way to the neighborhood. It doesn't always happen in November, sometimes it's late December, right around the holidays, or as it was last spring,...

  • Sportsman Stuffers

    Nick Simonson|Nov 28, 2022

    The holiday shopping season is underway, and while a number of big-ticket items such as new ice augers, shotguns, and other fishing and hunting must haves top the list of anglers and hunters, its those little items that bring a gleam to any sportsman's eye when they empty their stocking on Christmas morning. With a target price range of $20 to $30, these little gifts are perfect for that hunter or angler on your list and will keep them well stocked for their favorite seasons. Spoon Selection...

  • Our Outdoors: Sudden shift

    Nick Simonson|Nov 21, 2022

     It’s strange how one day in November, you can be staring out at a beige and brown field, watching deer move back and forth, going about their annual chase in an effort to beget the next generation; and then the next day, staring silently as drifts and drifts of white grow in the front yard, pinning you indoors until the first plows make their way to the neighborhood. It doesn’t always happen in November, sometimes it’s late December, right around the holidays, or as it was last spring, mid-Apr...

  • The video

    Nick Simonson|Nov 7, 2022

    The video represents not only landowner-sportsman relations at its lowest point, it also comes when communication among people in general has seemingly reached its nadir. In the now infamous clip that runs longer than it takes me to walk my dogs around the block, the landowner lobs more cursewords in that span than an R-rated movie does in its two-hour entirety. The hunters stand stubbornly fast, unwilling to compromise their position; instead filming the breakdown of civil discourse for...

  • Our Outdoors: Catch & Release Hunting

    Nick Simonson|Nov 7, 2022

    If I could find a way to zap a pheasant in the air without killing it, to have a second or two to hold it and look over its feathers and admire their sheen and the length of the tail growing late into the season before it wakes up and takes flight out of my hand, I probably would. However, the hard work of my dog, the limits of our technology afield, and the nature of the hunt itself produce a sense of obligation to pull the trigger which results in a finality that is both sweet in the form of...

  • Our Outdoors: Scope it out

    Nick Simonson|Oct 31, 2022

    There's nothing so clear and so adrenaline inducing as seeing a deer through the reticle of a scope. The movements of the animal are magnified, and if from the right position of concealment at a distance, natural and without knowledge, until the last moment, that the hunt is on. In those seconds leading up to the shot, knowing a scope is dead on can make all the difference between success and failure and these days ahead of the firearms deer opener give one final chance to make sure that both it...

  • Deer Hunting at its Best in More Than 100 Years

    Nick Simonson|Oct 31, 2022

    With firearms deer seasons opening up across the United States, rolling down from the north in the next couple of weeks as the cool weather of mid-fall settles in and sparks rutting behavior across the map on into the southern states later this season, Chief Conservation Officer Kip Adams of the National Deer Association (NDA) thinks deer hunting as a whole is the best the nation has seen in more than a century. As part of his group's efforts to educate hunters and arm them with biological...

  • Our Outdoors: Bucking the trend

    Nick Simonson|Oct 24, 2022

    A rather startling headline made its way around the internet last week regarding a staggering drop of almost 70 percent of all wildlife species worldwide over the past 50 years. Far beyond clickbait, the story detailed results of the Living Planet Report, an annual survey conducted by the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and the Zoological Society of London, which showed declines on all major continents in the populations of wildlife since 1970. In the graphs contained within the report, it showed...

  • Our Outdoors: Thick thoughts

    Nick Simonson|Oct 17, 2022

    In the dry, crackling brown of a cattail slough is one of my favorite places to be in the fall. When the stand of dense vegetation is about chest high – tall enough to provide a good screen and cover for pheasants, but short enough to allow for a clear shot when they flush – that’s about as perfect as things can get. Maybe I’m a glutton for punishment but plowing through that kind cover to me is enjoyable, especially after a couple of months back on the workout train ahead of hunting season,...

  • Power Your Hunting

    Nick Simonson|Oct 17, 2022

    Until I became an active hunter, leg day was the worst day in a workout routine. Usually falling on a Friday morning early in the weight room, it was the easiest one to skip and opt for sleeping in and starting the weekend a bit early. However, as I've gotten older and found greater joy in those long walks into way back places to find birds and deer, I've looked forward to what was once the most dreaded workout of the week. By focusing on glutes, quads, hamstrings, and calves, I've found the...

  • Our Outdoors: At the end

    Nick Simonson|Oct 10, 2022

    I’m a fan of end-of-the-world movies, particularly those incorporating the zombie genre into their plot. There’s something that piques my interest in those scenarios where nothing is left but a handful of hardy survivors taking on what remains of a hardened and structureless society of scavengers scraping by amidst the hordes of mindless cannibalistic ghouls. I wonder if I’d make it that far – six months, a year, or longer – in such a situation, but I figure probably not. I’d likely get tetanus...

  • Our Outdoors: On the Upswing

    Nick Simonson|Oct 3, 2022

    Grass equals birds. Habitat equals deer. Clean water equals fish. These are the things I along with many other hunters and anglers have come to know in the outdoors. I can recall once cutting from corner to corner on a dirt field to grab the pickup truck and collect my dog and hunting buddy who were finishing off a walk, and there in the middle of nothing but black dust and wheat stubble a covey of partridge flushed, surprising me straight out of my early autumn evening thoughts with enough...

  • Northwest ND the New Pheasant Destination

    Nick Simonson|Oct 3, 2022

    With the youth pheasant weekend on tap in just a few days on Sat. Oct. 1, and the general pheasant opener just a week later on Oct. 8, hunters are checking their boots, loading shells in their vests, and figuring out which parcels of their favorite hunting grounds they'll hit when their opportunity opens and the first rooster flushes. According to North Dakota Game & Fish (NDG&F) Upland Game Biologist RJ Gross, a general increase across the board in all four major pheasant categories – brood s...

  • Our Outdoors: Paying Attention

    Nick Simonson|Sep 26, 2022

     Once in a great while while on the water, or in the tree stand, or even just out for an early morning run, I catch a glimpse of the rising sun before it disappears under the clouds for the day as a system begins to move through. I often find myself thinking with that moment I may be one of just a handful of people who saw the sun before the clouds set in for that entire day, and I can’t help but think of that brief window as being something special. It feels more so for its rarity, as it...

  • Our Outdoors: Ups & Downs

    Nick Simonson|Sep 19, 2022

    The rolling hills around Big Detroit Lake in western Minnesota typically kick off my autumn, but it isn't the scattering of ruffed grouse in its surrounding woods that elicit my echoing footfalls and that of hundreds of others on the weekend after Labor Day. Instead, the woodland birds, whose Minnesota opener is still a week off, have it easy for at least another seven days as I hit the pavement surrounding the water in the crisp, clear morning air of early September for the annual Dick...

  • Casting & Blasting Across ND

    Nick Simonson|Sep 19, 2022

    The next few weeks present a unique overlap of just about everything as September turns into October. From summer festivities and back to school activities, to baseball, football, and even a hint of pre-season basketball and hockey intersecting, it's an exciting time for everyone, but especially hunters and anglers. This month and into the next often offers up the chance to make the most of the outdoors, with a combination of hunting and fishing opportunities that can be tacked together in a...

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